NUTLEY, NJ – In response to a ‘call to action’ campaign initiated by Nutley Chamber of Commerce, Representative Mikie Sherrill from the 11th Congressional District in New Jersey hosted a conference call on Wednesday, April 22, open to all chamber presidents and board members within her region.
Participating in the call were members from Nutley Chamber, Sussex Chamber, Livingston Chamber and Newark Regional Business Partnership. The topic was additional funding and relief for small businesses.
“I want to thank you for your initiative in helping me have a better understanding of how COVID-19 has affected small businesses,” said Congresswoman Sherrill. “Thank you for advocating for small businesses within your municipalities.”
Since the beginning of this crisis, Sherrill has been speaking with small business owners about the devastating and lasting economic impact this will have on them and is fighting to make sure their voice is heard.
The second round of Coronavirus legislation was passed on Tuesday, April 21.
“The PPP program needs more money and it needs to be distributed quickly to get people out of limbo,” Sherrill said. “We need to be getting better at passing legislation. We know the money is not always going to those that need it. More effort needed to be given to address the issues with funds originally going to the wrong places.”
The Congressional vote takes place Thursday, April 23 in Washington D.C.
“I was most upset with the part of the legislation that showed more money wasn’t given to our state, especially because of the large amount of cases we have,” Sherrill explained. “Other states with less cases got more money. That is why I have talked to leadership about it and I am going to D.C. to advocate for Small Business. Our municipalities are hard hit and need support.”
Community banks already have people lined up in queue waiting for government to sign off on this new round of PPP loans. If passed Thursday, funds should hopefully be available in the next week.
“I am going to D.C. tomorrow to vote ‘yes’,” Sherrill said. “This package calls for another $250 billion in funds for the PPP Cares Act, $60 billion for bank lenders to issue small business loans, plus additional funding for EIDL, SBA and Disaster Grant Programs. More money needs to be put into the system.”
Small business owners who already applied for the PPP program and received a loan number do not have to re-apply for this second round of funding. They should get the money once the vote is passed.
If small business owners were in the process of executing the loan application, they are urged to finish the application and submit immediately. If the application is with merit, those businesses should have access to the money.
“I am very concerned about our small businesses and I am going to do all that I can to make sure you get PPP funds,” Sherril proclaimed.
Chamber representatives were able to ask questions, with Nutley Chamber President Daniel Leon’s concern being a future legislative program for working capital to cover the four to six-month period for when small businesses are able to reopen, but consumers lack confidence in spending and safety leaving the house.
“People will not be going out to businesses and local restaurants immediately once things open and I know certain businesses will not be getting foot traffic,” Sherril said. “It’s certainly something we need to address in the near future as a new piece of legislation once we get people back to work – maybe it can be a new program called a ‘Back to Work’ bill.”
With this second round of funding, agriculture and family farms will be able to get PPP loans.
It is not yet clarified if 501 c(6) and 501 c(7) designated entities are eligible for funding.
“Tourism and seasonal areas, and their workers, have to be taken into account as well as far as their lost revenue,” added Sherrill.
Sherrill took initiative to start a bi-partisan taskforce with New York Congressman Peter King regarding getting people back to work as quickly and as safely as possible.
“This taskforce will meet weekly,” said Sherrill. “But we need to be careful and need to make sure we prevent another pandemic.”
As far as infrastructure and federal funding for related projects, Sherrill stressed, “it’s on everyone’s radar – the House and President included – and it’s something we thought would go into the Cares Act, but small business and healthcare needed priority, but it’s still very much the intention of the Caucus and the President that once people get back to work, that will become a priority.”
Sherril is pushing for state and local funding for back-to-work needs, which includes more coronavirus testing.
“This should be in the next piece of legislation after this one once people get back to work,” said Sherrill. “Once I get more information, my office will pass it along and update everyone.
Sherill concluded the conference call stating she will host a call specifically for all Nutley small business owners to answer questions, and further advocate to Congress and Washington about the needs and concerns of the community.
Sherrill represents New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District which spreads throughout Essex, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties, and includes Nutley, parts of Bloomfield and parts of Montclair.